Syed Salahuddin: US designates Syed Salahuddin 'global terrorist', sets tone for Trump-Modi meet

WASHINGTON: The Trump White House on Monday rolled out the red carpet for Prime Minister Narendra Modi signaling through several gestures ahead of his meeting with the US President enhancement of strategic ties with India that were conceived during the Bush and Obama years.After the White House had asserted in previews to the meeting that the two countries are on the same page in so far as global security and terrorism is concerned, the State Department on Monday designated Hizb-ul-Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin as a global terrorist just hours before Trump received Modi at the White House.Trump also drafted First Lady Melania Trump to join him in welcoming the Indian Prime Minister. The First Lady is also slated to join them for dinner and take part in the departure ceremony, making it three appearances with the visiting dignitary - a clearly personal gesture from Trump towards a leader who is single and unaccompanied.The dinner itself is a special gesture - the first such event in the Trump White House for a foreign leader, although Trump hosted the Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan in Mar-a-Lago, Florida.In his September 2014 visit to Washington DC during the Obama Presidency, Prime Minister Narendra Modi famously went without eating during a White House dinner because he was in the middle of a nine-day Navratri fast.While then President Obama and the two delegations feasted on crisped halibut in ginger carrot sauce, compressed avocados, and mango creme brulee, Modi sipped on warm water. Haley has met Modi when she was governor of South Carolina to promote business in her home state.But it was the designation as global terrorist of the Pakistan and Pakistan-occupied extremist Syed Salahuddin, a lapdog of the jihad-supporting Pakistani military, as a global terrorist, that set the tone for the meeting - -particularly as it came during the growing unrest in the Valley. Trump himself was chuffed before the meeting by the US Supreme Court decision allowing limited version of his travel ban to take effect.Modi's White House engagement, slated to last at least five hours (3:30pm to 8.30pm) end to end, was prefaced by calls on the Indian Prime Minister by secretary of state Rex Tillerson and defense secretary James Mattis at the Willard Hotel, next to the White House. Both cabinet principals reiterated the Trump administration's desire to enhance Washington's strategic ties with India, putting at rest speculation that New Delhi did not figure prominently in Trump's scheme of things, something US officials who previewed the visit on background had also scotched.Tillerson, Indian officials said, referred to an oped the appeared under Modi's byline in the Wall Street Journal to assert that there was no need for any special opportunity for the two sides to "seize the moment" to enhance ties.The broad agreement to advance their strategic ties ameliorated some of the differences in trade and commerce which both sides skirted around publicly.

June 26, 2017 18:45 UTC